A U.S. Marine Corps corporal who worked as a Defense Department travel administrator at Henderson Hall in Arlington County was charged Thursday with running an unusual theft scheme in which he reported fake travel expense records for other employees, then directed the reimbursement to his own bank accounts.
In an indictment filed in Norfolk, federal prosecutors accused Benjamin Moore, 34, who now lives in North Carolina, of swiping more than $32,000 from January 2010 to May 2012, directing at least 44 payments into his own accounts. He was charged with wire fraud, theft of public property and aggravated identity theft, according to the indictment.
The scheme relied in large part on Moore’s access to a Defense Department computer system used by employees to make arrangements for flights, hotels and rental cars, according to the indictment. As a defense travel administrator, Moore could approve department employees’ travel arrangements, and he could update their bank account and other personal information so they would be reimbursed, according to the indictment.
Moore used that access to authorize travel expenses employees never incurred, and then changed those employees’ bank account information so that reimbursement payments would be directed to his own accounts, according to the indictment.
Moore used at least three bank accounts in three states, and he created fake travel expenses using the names of at least eight people, according to the indictment.
It is unclear how authorities were tipped to the scheme they alleged or why it was not detected sooner. A spokeswoman at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall said she was unable to find any information on Moore or the case, and a U.S. Marine Corps spokesman said he was looking into the matter. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia declined to comment.
Reached by phone, Moore said he knew he was being investigated but was not aware he had been formally charged. He declined to comment further.